The dreaded international break may have temporarily halted Liverpool’s strong start to the Premier League season, but it’s safe to say the players have continued their glistening form.
After picking up three wins and one draw from the first four games of the seasons, the last thing Jurgen Klopp would have wanted was an early international break, but alas, the most boring period on the football calendar had to take place.
However, it’s the start of a new week and the build-up to competitive club action is upon us once again, meaning fans can now look forward to Liverpool facing Wolves as the early kick-off on Saturday, 16 September.
Six Liverpool first-team players were in action over the weekend. Here’s how they got on.
Germany 1-4 Japan – Endo dominates
One of Liverpool’s new midfield quartet was in action against Germany on Saturday: Wataru Endo of Japan.
On paper, this was perhaps the hardest fixture a Reds player had during international duties – very few would have tipped Japan for a win. However, Endo not only played, but captained his national side, as Japan stunned Germany with a 4-1 victory.
Japan took an early lead courtesy of Junya Ito, before Germany levelled things though Leroy Sane. That turned out to be the only German goal on the day, however, as Japan instantly replied to make it 2-1 and scored two late goals in stoppage time to emphatically win the game 4-1.
The defeat by Endo’s side was so emphatic, in fact, that Germany fired head coach Hansi Flick soon after.
From a personal perspective Endo won the most tackles (four) and duels (seven) of anyone on the pitch in a dominant performance.
Ireland 1-2 Netherlands – Gakpo on target
Virgil van Dijk and Cody Gakpo were also in action at the weekend, with the pair in the starting line-up to face Ireland on Sunday evening.
Despite missing the game against Aston Villa before the international break due to his red card against Newcastle, Van Dijk was able to get another game under his belt as he captained the Netherlands to victory.
The skipper got off to a rocky start after a shot struck his arm and resulted in an early penalty, which was cooly buried by Ireland’s Adam Idah.
However, this mistake was made up for by his Liverpool teammate Gakpo, who slotted a penalty of his own to equalise in the 19th minute – making it two goals from two during the international break after he also bagged against Greece. Is the Dutchman pushing for a start against Wolves on Saturday?
Netherlands eventually went on to win the game 2-1 with Wout Weghorst netting in the second half. Meanwhile, Caoimhin Kelleher failed to make an appearance, with Gavin Bazunu preferred between the sticks for Ireland.
Hungary 1-1 Czechia – Szoboszlai dazzles
Next up was Dominik Szoboszlai’s Hungary – the third international captain from Liverpool in as many fixtures.
Hungary were kept to a 1-1 draw against the Czechs. Despite taking the lead in the 52nd minute, Czechia soon equalised in the 63rd, through a well-taken effort from Václav Jurečka.
Regardless of the result, Liverpool’s new number eight played exceptionally well throughout the game, winning the most duels (eight) and tackles (two) for Hungary as well as being the most fouled player on the pitch. Meanwhile, the 22-year-old’s insane passing range made the rounds on social media, with Reds fans in awe of the Hungarian’s ability on the ball.
A season of the creative midfielder and Trent Alexander-Arnold spraying balls from the right hand side is going to marvellous.
One notable omission from international football at the weekend was Kostas Tsimikas.
The Greek full-back started against the Netherlands earlier in the week, and despite losing 3-0, the left-back seemed in good form and fitness.
However, when the team sheets came out for Greece’s clash with Gibraltar on Sunday evening, fans were quick to point out that Tsimikas wasn’t even in the squad, let alone starting.
Whether Liverpool’s back-up defender picked up an injury remains to be seen, but with Alexander-Arnold and Ibrahima Konate both pulling out of their respective squads due to injury, and Conor Bradley also out on the sidelines, Liverpool really can’t afford another defensive injury.
Diogo Jota, Andrew Robertson, Alisson Becker, Alexis Mac Allister, Harvey Elliott, Luis Diaz, Darwin Nuñez, Mohamed Salah and Endo all have international games left to play this week and will be making staggered returns to training with the rest of the Liverpool squad over the coming days.